Palestinians in Israel: Between the Green Line and the Red Line
Friday, October 20, 2000
Report from a Palestine Center briefing with Ghassan Egbarieh
In 1968, Ghassan Egbarieh's home town of 15,000 Palestinians in Umm al-Fahm, Israel, had neither a high school nor electricity. Therefore, Egbarieh attended a Jewish boarding school, where he was the only Palestinian. He found the contrast between Umm al-Fahm and the Jewish school'with all its amenities''shocking.' It demonstrated the considerable economic 'gap' between Palestinian and Jewish communities in Israel. At an October 13 Palestine Center briefing, Egbarieh, a lawyer and chairman of the board of directors for the human rights organization Adalah, spoke about the inequities Palestinians in Israel face and how this relates to the current crisis in the Middle East.
Egbarieh, a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship, explained how he recently went to the funeral of Asel Asleh, a 17-year-old Palestinian Israeli who had participated in the American organization 'Seeds of Peace' which brings youth'including Jewish Israelis and Palestinians'from conflict settings to a camp in Maine. This boy had 'many Jewish friends' and believed in peaceful coexistence, yet Israeli soldiers shot and killed him. The last few weeks have starkly illustrated the 'discrimination' against Israeli Palestinians that has existed 'for 50 [plus] years.' Israel is 'democratic ' for the Jewish citizens,' but not for Palestinian citizens, contended Egbarieh.